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In his excellent and feeling editorial (September 2002 JRSM1) Dr Chambers stresses the need to establish causes for ‘feral behaviour’ in children and mentions attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Treatment of this condition can be life-changing both to the patient and to his/her family and wider environment. Moreover, the behaviour patterns can persist into adult life. Some years ago I had a patient in his 50s with a history of violence persisting through childhood into adult life resulting in numerous prison sentences for grievous bodily harm. After treatment with methylphenidate he became socially tractable and reported a state of mental calm replacing the ‘Piccadilly Circus’ which had formally been his usual mental experience. Over the past 5 years I have seen numerous cases of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in adults that had been undiagnosed through childhood. I suspect that many offenders now in custody have this syndrome and that a vast social service could be performed by diagnosing and treating these individuals.